Speaking for the first time about last weekend's stabbing of a police chief by suspected neo-nazis, Chancellor Merkel called Thursday for political action to be taken against right-wing extremists in Germany.
The people of Passau likewise condemned the attack
"When a person representing our country -- or, in fact, when anyone is attacked by a right wing extremist, it is an attack on us all," Merkel told the Passauer Neuen Presse newspaper on Thursday, Dec 18.
The stabbing of Passau police chief Alois Mannichl on Saturday as he opened his front door to a skinhead came as a shock to many and is thought to have been the work of neo-nazis. The perpetrator is alleged to have told the chief: "Greetings from the national resistance," during the attack, a reference to Germany's right-wing community.
Despite serious injuries, Mannichl was able to leave the hospital Friday
In her first interview about the stabbing, Merkel said that with a shift to violent tactics, the threat posed by right-wing extremists must be taken very seriously. She called for cities and states across Germany to rise to the challenge these groups pose, not only politically but also within society as a whole.
Her statement comes as others have called to outlaw Germany's main far right group, the National Democratic Party (NPD). German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries said in a newspaper interview Wednesday, however, that she did not believe there was sufficient evidence to mount a new legal challenge against the NPD.
Suspect still sought as chief leaves hospital
Nearly a week after the stabbing, Mannichl has been cleared for release from the hospital. While two alleged accomplices were arrested Wednesday, the police are still searching for the man thought to be responsible.
"We can't let ourselved be afraid of these right-wing extremists," Mannichl said in a short statement to the press where he thanked the public for its support, adding that the attempt on his life was "cowardly."
Police this week picked up a 33-year-old man and 22-year-old woman who are suspected of helping the attacker.